by Richard Sheffield
I was one of the thousands of computer game enthusiasts who anxiously awaited the release of Gunship by MicroProse. At the time, I was familiar with other games by MicroProse so I expected a very good game, but even I was surprised by the excitement, realism, and complexity of Gunship. I get so worked up playing this game that I can't play it after 10:00 at night or I'll never get to sleep because it takes me too long to calm down!
It became immediately obvious that there was a lot to learn about this game, so I started the research which led to this book. It is amazing how well the real Army attack helicopter tactics and strategies translate to this game. The more I learned about the way real Army pilots fly missions, the better my scores got.
My education was completed on a snowy day in early November when I visited the MicroProse facility in Hunt Valley, Maryland. There I spent the afternoon talking with game designers Andy Hollis and Arnold Hendrick, and with Alan Roireau (a play-tester who played Gunship all day long for weeks during development). They helped me learn how the program actually worked, and again my scores immediately shot up. What I learned from the guys at MicroProse formed the basis for the "Tips and Information" chapter. This turned out to be the longest chapter in the book and certainly one of the most helpful. The scoring system that they use is clever yet complex, and learning how it works will go a long way in improving your scores.
While I was developing this book, two new helicopter simulation games were released: Thunderchopper by ActionSoft in Urbana, Illinois, and Tomahawk by Datasoft in Chatsworth, California.
Players of both of these games should benefit by reading this book. Although this book was written around Gunship, most of the tactics and overall strategies translate well to other games. But if you have not seen Gunship in action, by all means take a look. I highly recommend it.
Good luck and good hunting,
Richard G. Sheffield